North outshines south in latest restaurant survey

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Restaurant, Uk

Yorkshire has been identified as the county with the largest number of quality restaurants in the UK, helping to dispel the myth that a gastronomic divide exists between the north and the south.

According to the survey by Harden’s​ for its latest UK Restaurants guide, there are 113 good quality restaurants in Yorkshire, compared to 43 in Surrey and 35 in East Sussex.

The 8,000 regular diners who contributed 85,000 reports to the survey also said Northcote restaurant in Lancashire had the best food in Britain – eclipsing any restaurant in the capital.

Richard Harden, co-editor of the Harden’s UK Restaurant Guide said: “The UK restaurant scene is more diverse and varied than people might think with pockets of excellence all over the country.

“There is most definitely no simple ‘north/south’ disparity when it comes to dining out. It will certainly come as a surprise to the capital’s chef to hear that reporters in our national survey find the very best restaurant food of all in the North West.”

The survey’s findings are released as the R?my Martin Restaurant Awards, in association with Harden’s, reveal the winners for 2009. 

London Italian restaurant L’Anima won the Excellence Award with Pearl Liang, Ristorante Semplice and Texture also voted London Award Winners.

Outside London, TerraVina in the New Forest picked up best restaurant in the South East, Cornwall’s 2 Fore Street won the award for West and South West, The Nut Tree Inn in Oxford for the Midlands, Barn Asia in Newcastle for the North East and The Highwayman in Kirby Lonsdale for the North West.

Shaun Hill’s The Walnut Tree in Abergavenny was voted the best restaurant in Wales, while Two Fat Ladies at The Buttery in Glasgow won best Scottish restaurant.

Eileen Livingston, Maxxium UK`s Marketing Manager for R?my Martin UK, said: “People clearly recognise that great food can be found anywhere and with so many restaurants opening each year these awards give a great indication as to the increasing standards in the UK dining scene. R?my Martin and Harden’s are united in a passion for great food and drink and through these awards we are committed to supporting the UK restaurant trade and highlighting and developing new talent.”

The Harden`s​ UK Restaurants Guide 2009 is out today.

Winner details: 

London Award Winners

L’Anima​ meaning ‘the soul’ in Italian is the brainchild of renowned chef Francesco Mazzei. Contemporary Italian dishes which are bold yet clean with distinctive flavours are inspired from Mazzei’s childhood in Calabria. (Winner of the Excellence Award)

Pearl Liang’s​ ethos is that well prepared Chinese food should appeal to more senses than just the sense of taste. Its colours should be pleasing to the eye, and there should be evenly contrasting textures and tastes within a meal.

Ristorante Semplice​ is a sumptuous osteria in Mayfair. Inside the luxuriously decorated interior with golden walls and leather chairs, the focus is on simple Italian ingredients that stand out from the crowd and an impressive all-Italian wine list.

Texture​ is a restaurant where light healthy food and exquisite wines have equal importance. The modern European cuisine combines different consistencies with signature dishes such as Icelandic lamb with broth, barley and root vegetables.

Regional Award Winners

West and South West
2 Fore Street​ (Mousehole, Cornwall) was transformed from an uninspiring caf? into a chic and stylish French bistro style restaurant by owner Joe Wardell who trained under Raymond Blanc. The menu changes regularly to reflect the freshest local produce.

North East
Barn Asia​ (Newcastle) offers a fantastic new twist on the Chinatown experience. The restaurant brings together the French influenced cuisine of Vietnam with dishes from other Far Eastern countries. Owner Mark Lagun travelled to the region with his chef to research the dishes for a true Asian flavour.

South East
TerraVina​ (New Forest) is a wine and food enthusiast’s dream. The brainchild of Gerard Basset, one of the UK’s leading wine experts and his wife Nina, TerraVina is a triumphant combination of intimate warmth and first rate service.

Two Fat Ladies at The Buttery​ (Glasgow) retains the traditional interior of oak paneling, stained glass and mahogany and marble bar from the previous incumbents. The menu includes local specialties such as tian of Orkney crab and Stormoway black pudding.

North West
The Highwayman​ (Kirkby Lonsdale) offers a 21st century version of ‘the local’. The menu, inspired by Nigel Haworth, Chef Patron of nearby Northcote Manor, is a tribute to regional specialties of the area. Craggy stone floors, warm wooden furniture, crackling log fires in winter and fabulous walled gardens for summer alfresco dining ensure The Highwayman is particularly welcoming.

The Midlands
Nut Tree Inn​ (Murcott, Oxfordshire) is owned by Mike North, one of the youngest ever Michelin starred chefs. The aim of the kitchen is to be self sufficient and plans are ambitious. With pigs in the garden, a home-made smokery and 1½ acres set aside for a vegetable garden, the dishes on offer reflect the high quality of fresh ingredients.

The Walnut Tree Inn​ (Abergavenny) re-opened this year in a join venture between Shaun Hill and local hotelier William Griffiths. The menu is an eclectic mix, based on personal taste and sound cooking techniques. The style is modern British with an Italian influence.

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